Two prosecution witnesses established important connections in the Richard Hirschfield murder trial today, one of them putting the defendant in Davis in a time frame relatively close to the killings of two UC Davis students. Another said Hirschfield's brother lived in a mobile home park close to where the bodies of the two victims were found.
David Jones testified he knew Hirschfield from when they went to high school together in Colusa in the 1960s. Jones said HIrschfield came to visit him when he went to college at UC Davis. One of the visits, Jones said, was at a duplex where he lived on Benecia Court in 1979. The residence was located about a block away from where Sabrina Gonsalves lived the next year, before she was killed.
Another witness, Sharon Green Schneider, said Hirschfield's brother, Joseph, rented space in a mobile home park she managed on Mills Station Road in Rancho Cordova. The park was located about eight miles from where the bodies of Gonsalves, 18, and her boyfriend, John Riggins, also 18, were discovered two days after their Dec. 20, 1980, disappearance from Davis.
Hirschfield, 63, is accused of murdering the two UC Davis freshmen and sexually attacking Gonsalves. He is facing the death penalty if he is convicted.
In additional testimony today, another friend of Hirschfield's from his high school days in Colusa County said the defendant came to visit him a year or two after the Riggins and Gonsalves murders. The witness, Gene Beauchamp, said Hirschfield told him he'd just gotten out of prison but that "if they would have got me for what I really did, I'd still be there."
Beauchamp said he asked Hirschfield what he did, to which he said the defendant replied, "If I told you what I did, I'd have to kill you." Asked if Hirschfield was joking, Beauchamp testified, "Oh, no. He was serious."'
The conversation took place, Beachamp said, on his isolated ranch on a dirt road about a mile off Highway 45 in Colusa County.
His stepdaughter, Kimi Marie Baxter, testified she was about 17 when Hirschfield paid a return visit to the property a year or so later. Baxter said she was home alone when she saw Hirschfield's car coming up the road. She said she called her father.
When Hirschfield pulled up, "I told him my father was coming," Baxter testified. She said that Hirschfield then quickly departed, saying only, "I've got to go."